Showing posts from October, 2007

TWO WEEKS TO GO until Digital Switchover completes

The BBC2 analogue signal was switched off two weeks ago in the Whitehaven TV area (including most of Copeland) and a range of digital offerings have gone live - more in some parts of the area than others. All the remaining analogue signals for terrestial TV channels will be turned off two weeks today on 14th November On analogue televisions which have not yet had a set-top box added, Border TV has moved to the channel where BBC2 used to be, and BBC2 has gone. Most people who I have spoken to managed without too much difficulty to configure the set-top box on at least their main TV. When this is done the new digital BBC2 is available, and several new digital channels including BBC News 24 and cBBC have also come online. However, an awful lot of people needed to call the TV engineers out to get their set-top boxes tuned. There have been some problems, ironically especially with the more sophisticated boxes. Some set-top boxes regularly scan for updated signals. Unfortunately some of the

15 days to go until Digital Switchover completes

A fortnight tomorrow, the remaining analogue channels are switched off in the Whitehaven TV area. If you have lost BBC2 and don't want to lose the rest of your TV service on 14th November, you need to get a set-top box and get it properly set up.

Digital Switchover: completion in 16 days

IN a little over two weeks the remaining analogue channels are switched off in the Whitehaven TV area. If you have lost BBC2 and don't want to lose the rest of your TV service on 14th November, don't leave it too late to act!

Digital Switchover: completion in 17 days

All remaining terrestial TV analogue signals will be switched off on 14th November, in the Whitehaven TV area. This affects you if you live in Copeland and have lost BBC2: to be precise, if Borders appears in the slot where BBC2 used to be and the slot where Borders used to be produces static. In this case you have two nd a half weeks to get your TVs digital ready if you don't want to lose the rest of your TV service. Don't leave it too late to act!

Sunday spot: on humility in prayer

This morning at St Begh's abbey the gospel and sermon concerned the parable of the pharisee and the taxgatherer at prayer. Tax-collectors in the ancient world had an even worse reputation than they do today, often with reason. The parable has the pharisee praying to God "Lord thank you for making me a good person, not a wicked sinner like this tax-gatherer." Meanwhile the tax-gather beats his breast, does not even dare approach the alter, and prays for mercy on himself as a humble sinner. Our lord concluded by telling his audience that it was the tax-gatherer, who knew that he was a sinner and asked forgiveness, not the proud priest, whose prayer was pleasing to God. There is a similar story, told as a joke but with much the same inner meaning, which inverts this parable: the version I am about to quote is set in a synagogue but it could be told of the senior and junior people in any place of worship. A Pharisee, a senior priest, comes up before the high altar of the syna

For more gaffes and quotes, see The Times today

Matthew Paris has compiled a very amusing collection of two pages of unfortunate or contradictory quotes by political leaders, which is printed in today's issue of The Times. Well worth a read if you're into that sort of thing.

Digital Switchover: completion in 18 days

On 14th November the remaining terrestial TV analogue channels will be switched off in the Whitehaven TV area. There is still a certain amount of "picking up the pieces" going on from the initial disconnection of the BBC2 analogue bradcast. Meanwhile Sky are doing a roaring trade. More on this tomorrow

Digital Switchover: completion in 19 days

On 14th November the remaining terrestial TV analogue channels will be switched off in the Whitehaven TV area. This affects you if you live in Copeland and have lost BBC2. In this case you have less than three weeks to get your TVs digital ready if you don't want to lose the rest of your TV service. Don't leave it too late to act!

Gaffes and Misjudgements

Blogger Paul Linford did an amusing post last year on the "Top Ten Political Gaffes", and I am grateful to Iain Dale for drawing my attention to the fact that this week he has done a follow-up piece on the top ten political misjudgements The misjudgements piece can be read at this URL: The gaffes piece can be read at this URL: The list of misjudgements covers statements on major issues of policy and decisions such as whether to call an election. The list of gaffes covers slips of the tongue or errors of presentation, such as one government minister who meant to use the word "cuts" and actually came out with a similar but much ruder word. Although Paul Linford says that the misjudgements tended to have serious consequences and the gaffes were generally just embarrassing, I would have said that some of the gaffes also had

Digital Switchover: completion in 20 days

Less than three weeks now until the remaining analogue channels are switched off in the Whitehaven TV area. If you have lost BBC2 and don't want to lose the rest of your TV service on 14th November, don't leave it too late to act!


By Chris Atkins, Sarah Bee and Fiona Button This accessible and well written polemic assembles a collection of views and stories from right through the political spectrum, which chronicle the ways that many of the freedoms which keep Britain a society worth living in have been eroded. Contributors range from Tony Benn to Ken Clarke, from Clare Short to Boris Johnson, and Shami Chakrabarti of Liberty to Kate Allen of Amnesty International. Often hysterically funny, often infuriating, it lists the rights which have been removed from ordinary citizens, the extra powers which have been granted to the police and ministers, and the ludicrous situations which have resulted. I wouldn't suggest that this book gets everything right or that I agree with every word in it, but it certainly scores more than a few direct hits and is an important contribution to the debate. Since this book, and the film of the same name which contains much of the same material, were published, Gordon Brown has pro

From today's FT

There is a front page item in today's FT about the proposals to develop new Nuclear plants, with particular reference to concerns within government about staffing issues and linkages to renewable energy. I agree with he view attributed to the energy industry that if we are to get enough low-carbon electricity to meet the country's needs while cutting our carbon footprint, we need both nuclear and renewables. There is an interesting quote from a leaked government document on the subject of the treasury's attitude to nuclear waste. The FT says "The document suggests that the treasury is resisting plans to invite councils to bid for the right to house the waste repository because it fears that only one council - the one that includes Sellafield in Cumbria - will apply. This lack of competition would leave it able to demand extra funding of more than £1 billion." The council concerned is of course Copeland Borough Council, and those who have sat through debates at Cop

Digital TV Switchover: Phase One plus one week

And 21 days to go until completion on 14th November, when the BBC1, Borders, and Channel 4 analogue signals are turned off in the Whitehaven TV area.

Digital TV Switchover: Phase One plus six days

And 22 days to go until completion on 14th November, when the BBC1, Borders, and Channel 4 analogue signals are turned off in the Whitehaven TV area. If you live in Copeland and have lost BBC2, you need to get working digital equipment in the next three weeks or you will lost the other TV channels.

What they say in the rest of Europe about the treaty

Gordon Brown's government is trying to persuade us that they don't need to keep their promise of a referendum on the proposed EU consitution because the reform treaty which they now propose to ratify is quite different. It is interesting to see what the other governments who negotiated the treaty say about this. Jose Zapatero, Prime Minister of Spain: 'We have not let a single substantial point of the constitutional treaty go.' Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark 'All the symbolic elements are gone, and that which really matters is left.' Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany: 'The substance of the constitution is preserved. That is a fact.' Astrid Thors, Europe Minister, Finland: 'There's nothing from the original institutional package that has been changed' Vaclac Klaus, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: 'Only cosmetic changes have been made and the basic document remains the same' Bertie Ahern, Prime Minister of Ire

Digital TV Switchover: Phase One plus five days

And 23 days to go until completion ... Don't leave it until 14th November, when the BBC1, Borders, and Channel 4 analogue signals are turned off in the Whitehaven TV area, to make sure your TVs are digital ready. Ring 0845 6 50 50 50 to talk to Digital UK if you need advice.

If you thought British politicians were bad ...

I'm indebted to the Sunday Times for the news that a New Zealand MP was persuaded by a constituent to write to their Ministry of Health asking about the possibility of a ban on the chemical Dihydrogen Monoxide. I suspect the constituent concerned was having a laugh at his MP's expense or trying to win a bet about how daft a suggestion he could persuade a politician to make. The reply from a junior health minister was admirably succinct: "Dihydrogen monoxide is water."

Digital TV Switchover: Phase One plus four days

And 24 days to go until completion ... I set up my family's main television with a Digital box on Wednesday: have been trying to sort out the family's other TVs over the weekend. Some of them have been easier to set up than others. Generally the newer the television, and the cheaper the set-top box, the easier it has been. I gather that a lot of the problems have been with the most sophisticated set-top boxes which have somehow picked up programme information for Digital services from the Caldbeck transmitter as well as the Bigrigg one. But that doesn't necessarily mean that they can actually receive transmissions from Caldbeck. A few people in Caldbeck on high hills can receive Caldbeck directly, and the St Bees and Parton transmitters re-broadcast the Caldbeck transmission. Once we have our TVs sorted with the current pattern of service, we will be OK for the next 24 days, but then we will have to re-tune the whole lot after the channels are switched round again when the

Digital TV Switchover: Phase One plus three days

And 25 days to go until completion ... Most people in the Whitehaven and Copeland TV area seem to have managed to re-tune their Digital boxes and get the new services after the BBC2 analogue signal was switched off on Wednesday. But I am still hearing about problems with one type of set-top box and that a lot of people have had to call an engineer. Ring 0845 6 50 50 50 to talk to Digital UK if you are having problems.

Labour MP Gisela Stuart attacks Brown over treaty

It isn't often that I can say that one of my main reasons for being unhappy with something is that a Labour MP has criticised it, but there is an exception to every rule. The concerns which Gisela Stuart, a Birmingham Labour MP, expressed first about the proposed European Union constitution, and now about the "Reform Treaty" which has effectively brings it back under another name, should be taken seriously by anyone who wants to see a Europe that works. Stuart's concerns carry weight for two reasons. First, she is in no sense a little Englander - in fact she has German ancestry and was an on-message, pro-European Blairite until she broke ranks on this issue. Second, she knows far more than most people about the consitution and how it was written, as she was one of the British representatives on the "Praesidium" which drafted it. The fact that this experience caused someone with impeccable pro-European credentials to break ranks and criticise the constitutio

Gender stereotyping - sauce for the goose

I ordered a book for myself via the internet a few days ago, and we were slightly surprised to find that it came today addressed to my wife. I had used a pre-saved address setting which named both of us, and the seller must have assumed as the book was a regency romance novel that it had been ordered for Brigid rather than myself. In this instance the fact that someone jumped to a false conclusion about reading tastes based on a gender stereotype is amusing rather than annoying. But it does illustrate the point that many of us find it far too easy to jump to false conclusions about people based on irrelevant information such as what sex they are without even realising what we are doing.

Digital TV Switchover: Phase One plus two days

And 26 days to go until completion ... Plenty of people in the Whitehaven and Copeland TV area managed to re-tune their Digital boxes and get the new services after the BBC2 analogue signal was switched off on Wednesday. However, there seem to be quite a few people who needed help. Given the amount of kerfuffle with BBC2 switching over, it is very important that we use the remaining 26 days before the remaining Analogue TV signals are turned off to get as many people as possible set up with working set-top boxes before 14th November. Ring 0845 6 50 50 50 to talk to Digital UK if you are having problems.

Digital TV Switchover: Phase One plus one day

27 days to go until completion ... I am getting reports that a significant number of people have had to contact local TV engineers with tuning problems after the BBC2 analogue signal was switched off yesterday in the Whitehaven TV area. Ring 0845 6 50 50 50 to talk to Digital UK if you are having problems Help the Aged are also running a Digital TV advice servie for elderly people We have another 27 days until all the remaining terrestial TV main channels switch over from analogue to digital. We need to make use of that time to sort everyone out.

Ring 0845 6 50 50 50 if you need Switchover Help

For many people in the Whitehaven and Copeland TV area the first phase of the Digital switchover appears to have gone reasonably smoothly, but I am aware that it has not all been plain sailing for everyone. If you need assistance in connection with digital TV switchover, in the first instance you should call Digital UK on 0845 6 50 50 50.

Digital Switchover Phase 1 NOW LIVE ...

BBC2 Analogue signal now dead ... and 28 days to go until the remaining analogue signals are switched off. Well, after all the anticipation the big switchover has finally begun: the BBC2 analogue signal has been switched off in the Whitehaven TV area (including most of Copeland) and a whole range of digital offerings have gone live. All the remaining analogue signals for terrestial TV channels will go in four weeks on 14th November I have just taken a few minutes to see if everything works. As expected, on those of our Televisions which have not yet had a set-top box added, Border TV had moved and BBC2 was not working. Took me a few minutes to reconfigure the set-top box on our main TV. When I had done so the new digital BBC2 was available, and several new digital channels including BBC News 24 and cBBC have also come online. I then took a new digital television out of the box and plugged it in: the new set promptly found a range of digital services including all the BBC channels. Have

Digital TV Switchover: Phase 1 tomorrow

And 29 days until the switchover completes. The beginning of the end for analogue terrestial TV broadcasting in Britain will commence in a few hour's time in the Whitehaven TV area. In the early hours of 17th October the BBC2 analogue signal will be switched off. The Border TV signal will move to the current BBC2 frequency. A new Digital signal for BBC2 will begin. Four weeks later, on November 14th, the remaining analogue TV signals will be switched off and replaced by Digital broadcasts. The Whitehaven TV area covers most of Copeland, except for those who get their signal from the Bleach Green transmitter at Parton, the St Bees transmitter, from Caldbeck, or those south of Muncaster who get their signal from various other transmitters. Those viewers will not go digital until 2008. After each analogue service is switched off, viewers will only be able to receive that channel using either a digital-ready TV or a set-top-box.

Giant Rubber Duck stuck under bridge

If this story from the News and Star today had come out on 1st April I would have been certain it had to be a joke ... "A GIANT rubber duck became stuck under a bridge at the Greymoorhill interchange near Carlisle at lunchtime today. The duck was being carried on a transporter truck. Police were called to the incident on the southbound carriageway at 12.40pm and traffic was running smoothly again by 1.30pm." You couldn't make it up, could you?

Digital TV Switchover - TWO DAYS TO GO

And 30 days to completion ... The BBC2 analogue signal will be turned off in the Whitehaven TV area in two days' time on 17th October. The remaining analogue signals will be turned off on 14th November. If you watch a terrestial TV signal broadcast from the Bigrigg transmitter south of Whitehaven, including the Gosforth and Wasdale transmitters which re-broadcast its signal, you will be affected by this and need to ensure that you have a digital ready TV or a digital set-top box.

Digital TV Switchover phase 1 - three days to go

And 31 Days until Digital Switchover is completed. Just three days until the analogue BBC2 signal from the Bigrigg transmitter south of Whitehaven, and on those transmitters which re-broadcast it's signal, is turned off. Borders will transfer to that channel and a BBC2 digital broadcast will commence. And one month from today the analogue BBC1, Borders, and Channel 4 signals will also be switched off.

Sunday Spot - "The building's on fire!"

During an inter-faith gathering, someone rushed in and shouted "The building's on fire!" The Methodists gathered in a corner to pray. The Baptists cried "Where is the water?" The Quakers quietly praised God for the blessings which fire brings. The Lutherans posted a notice on the door declaring that fire was evil. The Roman Catholics passed roud a collection plate to cover the cost of the damage. The Jews painted symbols on the doors, hoping the fire would passover. The Congregatinalists shouted "Every man for himself!" The Christian Scientists agreed amongst themselves that there was no fire. The Anglicans formed a procession and walked out. The Muslims agreed to accept the fire as the will of Allah. The Presbyterians appointed a chairperson who was to appoint a committee to look into the matter and make a written report The URC members were such a mixed lot that they couldn't agree on what to do. And the church secretaries got together, put the f

Should Britain have fixed-term parliaments?

Many mature democracies, whether their system is parliamentary or presidential in character, do not play the game of fiddling around with election dates to suit the convenience of the incumbent government. Britain is not alone in having this system, partly because many other countries have copied our system, partly because some countries which regularly experience difficulty in building a coalition government have faced the genuine need for an election to clear a parliamentary logjam. I don't believe there is any one perfect system which is right for all countries in all circumstances. But I note that the USA, France, Germany, the European parliament, the devolved parliaments and assemblies in this country, and all our local councils manage perfectly well with normally fixed terms for most of their elections. This need not be inconsistent with arrangements to change the date of elections which would normally be fixed in genuinely special circumstances, such as war, disease epidemic

Digital TV Switchover - FOUR DAYS TO GO

With just four days until the BBC2 analogue signal is terminated on Wednesday, Digital UK has stated that they think there could be more than 5,000 households in the affected areas of Copeland who have yet to take any action. If this is true we are heading for a chaotic time in a few days. I am not a technical expert: those who are tell me that the technical communication surrounding Digital Switchover has not always been brilliant. But my understanding is that on Wednesday 17th October - 1) The Border TV analogue signal will shift to the channel currently used by BBC2. 2) The BBC2 analogue signal will cease to be broadcast 3) A BBC2 Digital signal will start up. Those of us who have tuned their set-top boxes to pick up Channel Five will need to re-tune them to get BBC2. People who know far more than I do about the technical aspects of TV transmission tell me that it would probably have been a better idea to start Digital Switchover in an area where viewers could already recieve digita

Should Britain have an imitation Tory government, or the real thing?

This morning the Press Association reports another instance of Labour stealing tory policies .. Tax boost hint for married couples Married couples could be in line for a tax boost under Labour, a Cabinet minister has signalled. Andy Burnham, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said the tax system should recognise marriage and commitment. In what will be seen as another raid by Gordon Brown on Tory policies, Mr Burnham said: "I think marriage is best for kids." Speaking in an interview with the Daily Telegraph, he added: "It's not wrong that the tax system should recognise commitment and marriage." You can read the Press Association item in full at Another day, another policy which was described by Labour as the end of civilisation as we know it when the Conservatives proposed it but which they now suggest they might copy. A few weeks ago Gordon Brown even quoted the bible in an apparent attempt to suggest that r

Should we welcome the theft of our ideas ?

A few years ago after Tony Blair had copied a set of Tory ideas to the dismay of his own backbenchers, I commented that there were times that he made the Conservative position seem like a "Reverse Lamont - in power but not in office." A letter in yesterday's Times following the copycat announcements on IHT and Non-Doms asked "Is it any wonder that the Tories were keen to keep their policies under wraps?" There is an interesting post on Platform 10 (the Cameroon website) to the effect that the Conservatives and David Cameron mustn’t be afraid of Labour stealing ideas. "In fact, he should encourage it. All the policy reviews are full of many good ideas. By putting them out there, and encouraging Brown to adopt them, one of two things will happen. * If they are good, they will be stolen and Cameron can claim the moral high-ground. Labour will get a reputation for shamelessly stealing policy and they will soon look very weak. * If Labour ignore them – and the

Digital TV Switchover - Five days to go

If you are a terrestial TV viewer in one of the areas of Whitehaven or the rest of Copeland affected by the Digital TV switchover, and have not yet acquired a set-top box or digital television, it would be a really good idea to do so this weekend.

Mainstream Muslims call for better relations with Christians

Reuters is reporting this evening that an unprecedented letter has been sent to Pope Benedict and other Christian leaders from 138 Muslim scholars. They said that finding common ground between the world's biggest faiths was not simply a matter for polite dialogue between religious leaders. "If Muslims and Christians are not at peace, the world cannot be at peace. With the terrible weaponry of the modern world; with Muslims and Christians intertwined everywhere as never before, no side can unilaterally win a conflict between more than half of the world's inhabitants," the scholars wrote. "Our common future is at stake. The very survival of the world itself is perhaps at stake," they wrote, adding that Islam and Christianity already agreed that love of God and neighbor were the two most important commandments of their faiths. Relations between Muslims and Christians have been strained as al Qaeda has struck around the world and as the United States and other W

Never glad confident morning again

Brown made a bad mistake, not necessarily because he didn't call an election, but because he allowed it to look like he was about to do so abd then bottled. He made a worse one by not being frank about it, or about the fact that he was stealing Tory clothes on inheritance tax and on tax for Non-Domiciles. He made a worse mistake still by losing his temper with David Cameron at Prime Ministers Question Time yesterday. I was expecting the papers and comment on the internet to be bad for Gordon Brown today, but they have been even less favourable to him than I expected. Bloggers who post on sites like "Political" and who are usually staunch Labour supporters have been crucifying Brown today. It did remind me of the comment on MacMillan when he sacked a third of his cabinet but emerged a weaker rather than a stronger figure: "Never Glad Confident Morning Again." It doesn't mean that either the Brown premiership or the New Labour government are finish

Digital Switchover: six days to go

Less than a week now until the digital switchover in most of Whitehaven and Copeland begins with BBC2 on Wednesday 17th October.

A595 blocked following fatal accident

The A595, which is effectively the only route through parts of central Copeland, has been blocked for several hours this evening following a fatal accident between Calderbridge and Seascale. It is not expected to reopen until the early hours of the morning. This is not an uncommon event. I remember on the day that my family moved from Gosforth to Whitehaven we were stuck in a removal van with two small children for several hours because the A595 was closed following a horrible accident when a couple of horses bolted onto the road. The A595 is a vital link both as the principal access to Sellafield and for the people who live in a number of communities in this area. Out of respect for the unfortunate person who died this evening I will refrain from making any partisan points about the road today, beyond saying that both road safety on this route and the security of the road are extremely important.

Digital Switchover - one week to go!

One week from today the Analogue BBC2 signal will be switched off for most television viewers in Copeland and replaced with a digital signal. If you do not have a set-top box or a digital TV, you will not be able to watch BBC2. On November 14th the other channels will follow. And after 14th November, if you want to be able to watch one channel and record another you will need a Video or DVD/HDD recorder with the relevant Digital kit inside. Most residents of South Copeland get their signal from other transmitters and will not be affected until next year: there are also viewers who get their signal from the Bleach Green transmitter at Parton (including some residents of my ward in Bransty) and others who get their signal from the St Bees transmitter. Their signal will also not be affected until next year. If you are in any doubt about whether you are affected, turn on BBC2. Viewers in the affected area will regularly see a text message appear at the top of the screen. One version begins

An election budget for an election which never was

If I thought they would implement them properly I would have been pleased to see Alistair Darling stealing tory ideas in his pre-budget statement today: an election budget for an election which Brown bottled out of calling. Trouble is, as has been pointed out on Conservative Home, when this government steals tory ideas they don't always implement them properly, and can often discredit perfectly good ideas.

Digital Switchover - Eight days to go

Only a little over a week until the change from Analogue to Digital begins for most of Copeland with BBC2 on 17th December. If you are not sure whether you are affected by the digital switchover, turn on BBC2. Viewers who get their signal from the Bigrigg transmitter, or those which rebroadcast it's signal, should see a message warning that you will lose this signal on 17th October unless you have a set-top box or a digital-compliant Television. If you are affected and have not yet started to think about getting hold of a set-top box, it would be a really good idea to do so soon.

Digital TV switchover - Nine days to go

Less than ten days left until the analogue BBC2 signal is turned off for viewers in the Whitehaven TV area getting their signal from Bigrigg. A digital signal willbe provided instead which will require a digital TV or a set-top box. Channel Five is now available on a digital signal from the Bigrigg transmitter - much to my children's delight when I took my own advice, tested out a set top box, and found that Channel Five did indeed come on. At the moment you have to swithc the set top box off again for the other channels, but not for much longer.

The Brown Bottle

After months of "Brown Bounce" we now have the Cameron bounce, and the Brown Bottle as the prime minister has decided not to call an election. The main reason that Brown comes out badly from his decision to back down from calling an election is not the fact that he chose not to go to the country. If he had called a November poll, Labour might quite possibly have lost, and I am 100% certain that we would have made a real contest of it. The national Tory machine was geared up and ready to go, publicity material would have been ready to print at the touch of a button five minutes after Brown went to the palace , candidates are in place and working in almost all the marginals and our manifesto was ready too. The policies on which we would have fought an election campaign plans were a balance of traditional Tory themes and an appeal to the centre. For example, taking ordinary families out of the net of death duties with the slogan "Only millionaires should pay inheritance tax

Digital Switchover - Ten days to go

Ten days until the BBC2 Analogue signal is switched off in most of Copeland and replaced by a digital signal. Channel 5 has now become available via a Digital signal Anyone terrestial TV viewer who lives in the area served by the Bigrigg transmitter, or those that rebroadcast it's signal such as Eskdale, and who has not already done so, would be well advised to get a set-top box this week and check that you can get Channel 5.

Digital TV Switchover - 11 days to go

It is now just eleven days until the analogue BBC2 signal is switched off for terrestial TV viewers in the Whitehaven TV area who get their signal from the Bigrigg transmitter just south of Whitehaven. From this point they will need a Digital television or a set-top box to watch that channel. The other channels will change over from Analogue to Digital on 14th November. Channel five, which previously was extremely difficult to get in Copeland, is now being broadcast using a digital signal from Bigrigg, so you can check whether your set-top-box or other digital kit is working by looking for Channel 5. Most residents will not need to change their TV aerial to receive the new digital signal, though there will be a significant minority who do. If you think you may be one of them, get at least two quotes before having a new aerial installed. Most local suppliers do a good job at a reasonable price, but some people offering this service have been charging quite a bit more than others.

Digital TV Switchover: 12 days to go

Twelve days left until the Analogue BBC2 signal is switched off for TV viewers in the Whitehaven TV area who get their signal from the Bigrigg transmitter. Don't leave it too late to do something about this !


There is an open day next Monday (8th October) in Whitehaven Civic Hall, between 2pm and 8pm, where people can learn more about future health service plans. This is an opportunity to find out about the "Closer To Home" document which is finally out for public consultation.The Whitehaven event is the first open day of a series being held around the county. Other events being held in Copeland are: * October 31, Egremont Town Council, 3pm-6pm; * November 7, Millom Network Centre, 4pm-7pm; * November 16, Gosforth Village Hall, 4pm-7pm. It is expected that there will be a range of doctors and senior staff from the Primary Care Trust (PCT) available to answer questions and concerns. The consultation runs until 4th January 2008, and other ways to get involved include * visit the consultation website online at * telephone the hotline number 0844 7280107. A response form is included with the document. The last date to return it is 4th January 20

A journalist's view of the Cameron speech

It is hardly going to come as a great surprise that I thought David Cameron's speech was excellent. Nor that the feedback from my Conservative colleagues, was also very good. So I have been looking at the press and on the net to see what people whose support for DC cannot be taken for granted have been saying. I thought the following piece in The Times by Camilla Cavendish was very good and very interesting. CAMERON BOUNCE 2: REFRESHINGLY SPIN-FREE It has been a strange two weeks in the bubble of Blackpool and Bournemouth. You may think there that should have been a plural but it feels like the same bubble, not two different bubbles. The journalists, the quangocrats, the fringe speakers, are largely the same throughout. Only the politicians are different, and, of course, we the media will kindly filter their utterances for you. It is impossible to know what voters have made, if anything, of these conferences. But there has been a profound mood shift in the media. And although anyt

Digital Switchover: 13 days to go

There are now 13 days until the BBC2 analogue signal is turned off for viewers whose television signal comes from the Bigrigg transmitter in Whitehaven, or from one of the transmitters which re-broadcast the Bigrigg signal. Viewers affected by the change are likely to have seen messages come up on your TV. If you think you may be affected but are not sure, take advice from a competent local source such as the Digital UK shop in Whitehaven town centre, or from a reputable local TV supplier like Cumbria Audio Visual or Brooks. It is not a good idea to wait until 17th October

"Call that election. We will fight: Britain will win"

Those were the words with which David Cameron closed the Conservative conference yesterday, after speaking without an autocue for over an hour. I thought it was a brilliant speech, in which he outlined where he thinks the Labour government has gone wrong and what a Conservative government would do to improve things. The list of major policy proposals which he outlined included: - Scrapping top-down targets in the NHS - Allowing voluntary organisations, private companies and churches to set up state schools - Cutting stamp duty - A referendum on the EU Treaty - Ending the "revolving door" of the benefits system - A lifeboat fund to help the victims of Gordon Brown's pension crisis - Ending discrimination against all couples (married or single) in the benefits system - Recognising the importance of marriage in the tax system - Scrapping the ID Card scheme - Ending the appeals panel that prevents head-teachers from excluding disruptive pupils - Making police responsible to l

Digital Switchover: two weeks to go

Two weeks from today the Digital TV switchover in the Whitehaven Television area (which includes most but by no means all of Copeland) will begin. On 17th October the BBC2 analogue signal from the Bigrigg transmitter, and the sub transmitters derived from it, will be switched off and replaced by a digital signal. On 14th November the other channels will follow. The transmitters at Parton and St Bees are rebroadcasting the signal from the Caldbeck transmitter which does not go digital until next year. Viewers who take their signal from any of these (including some residents of Whitehaven, some of them in my ward, Bransty) will continue to receive analogue signals until Caldbeck switches over. Viewers in Millom and a substantial chunk of the south of Copeland will also switch over next year. Once the signal switches, viewers will need a set-top box or a new digital-compatible TV to see terrestial channels. I will be posting regular digital updates on this site until shortly after 14th No